Monday, October 11, 2010

Washroom Fire Code Violation

I was out for coffee last night at a very large chain. If you live in Canada -- or even if you do not -- you may know it. You can roll-up the rim to win. On the washroom was a simple double sided deadbolt. You know the kind. It makes a prison cell in waiting.

Now as a matter of practice, we are not to 'interpret' fire codes but one line which is a guiding principle run something like the following. A capable person can exit from the room or building without special tools or knowledge. Not much interpretation needed to know a double deadbolt fails this completely. And yet, the hardware exists to do this right. Just off the top of my head are two models which allow a thumbturn inside to only unlock the door so that nobody can lock the multiperson bathroom upon entry. (Large buildings end up with problems like graffiti, drug deals or sex in washrooms if you allow the door to be lockable.) I know the hardware I am thinking is more expensive than the residential mess which was in use but a simple rope would be cheaper than a proper seatbelt. You get my point. They have the cash to use flat-screen TVs to advertise menu items, they can afford good hardware too.

However, this raises another issue. We were encouraged by a member of our local fire department to report violations when we see them and they would investigate. Usually, this mean shooting yourself in your foot since it is your own customer where you find the violation. Should I report this problem? I could get hate from many another locksmith and countless in-house fixers. I would like to hear from you on this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Driving complaint ... cell phones

My job is partly to drive. Today, I honked at a driver who changed lanes to be ahead of me without signaling and without giving what I thought was reasonable clearance. I had to slow down but was not really at risk of hitting the car. It was more an annoyance. It was then I noticed a cell phone was in use. Further on, I saw the car weaving and it hit the while lane lines for no good reason and the driver was still on the phone. Before passing on the freeway, I honked again before moving alongside this car. The driver gave me a dirty look.

I honked since it is used to warn drivers of a hazardous condition on the road and this driver was the hazardous condition. I needed more attention on the lanes as we both moved into a construction zone and was only hoping to get the driver to stay in the other lane.

(For what it is worth, the car was a blue Pontiac Vibe with Alberta plates and the driving was observed on 170 Street southbound from 87 Avenue to the Whitemud and then along the Whitemud Freeway of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.)

Glass Door Adjustment Screw -- See It Here!

I was at a condo building on a completely unrelated task but noticed the glazing channel was missing from the top of the inner vestibule door. This allowed a clear view of a device built into most of these doors which is seldom seen. At the top near the opening edge is a small block of nylon with a bolt pushing down on it from the top stile of the door. Here the block is turned almost a quarter turn since the glazing channel is missing and would usually hold it square and in place. The screw has also put enough pressure on the glass to form some curved fractures. (They are called conchoidal fractures and more detail is at Wikipedia.)

I would not wind this screw any further down but if you understand its function and limits, it can help you solve a common problem. Glass doors with aluminum frames are partly held up by the glass which always stays square. However, the frame can slip and sag at the opening edge and the block allows you to bring up the opening edge.

(OOPS! The frame is part of the building which is build into the wall and the door closes into it. The outside part of the door is called the stile. I know this. However, your customers will do just as I did and call all of it the frame.)

If you close the door, and see the header is level but the door sags and you see the crack at the top of the door as it progresses away from the hinges, then this may help you. Start by opening the door and take the pressure off the block by wedging up the bottom of the door. When you start to wind in the adjustment screw, their should be very little torque or turning pressure needed. You should have lifted the door with the wedge and are now just bringing the block down on the glass so when you take the wedge out the door will come to rest on it but high then it was before. (The screw may be hard to turn still but you should turn it slowly and listen for any bits of cracking. If you hear this, STOP!) Close the door to see how it sits now.

Questions? Toss a reply and I will try to answer it.

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Laux Myth ... Thoughts From a Locksmith
By MartinB, Found @